When we were eleven, Oliver Ford Pemberton dared me to jump off a barn roof. He said you couldn’t break a leg from a 12-foot-jump.
(You can also break a collarbone, which served him right as far as I was concerned.)
I wish I could say it was the last dare I ever took from him, the last bet I ever made with him, the last time I ever trusted Oliver Ford Pemberton.
But it wasn’t.
Because he had the nerve to grow up gorgeous, charming, and sexy. And as we got older, the dares only got dirtier—and the betting stakes higher—until finally, he left me in pieces. I swore I’d never talk to him again.
But twenty years after I took that flying leap, he’s back in my life, daring me to risk everything for him: my job, my self-worth, and my heart.
How many chances does true love deserve?
Publication Date: May 20, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Photographer: Regina Wamba
Cover Designer: Hang Le
“Give me another chance,” he demanded. “Right now.”
“What?” I stared at him. “Are you crazy?”
“No. I’m totally serious, Chloe. You have to give me another chance.”
“Because what if girls have been faking it with me? What if I have no idea what I’m doing? What if I’m a clueless, selfish asshole in bed? I need you to teach me.”
“I’m sure you’re fine.” I got to my feet, feeling like I needed some air. “Let’s go down to the party.”
“Don’t go!” He jumped up and grabbed my arm. “Listen, you’d be doing me a favor, just like I did you a favor. Then we’d be even.”
I stared at him. “Are you drunk?”
“No. Are you?”
“Then let me give you an orgasm.”
“You’re out of your mind.” I shook him off and went for the door, but he vaulted over Frannie’s bed and blocked it.
“You’re not leaving until I make you come.”
His words were turning me on, but I couldn’t give in. “Oliver, we just spent three years not talking because we had sex.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “Get out of my way, asshole.”
There was no chance of my out-muscling him. I thought about kicking him in the balls, but wasn’t sure I could stoop so low. There had to be a way to outsmart him. Turning around, I ran over to my bag, which was on the floor at the foot of my bed, and reached inside to grab my phone. I’d text Frannie, and then—“Hey!”
Oliver had tried to swipe the phone from me, but I was quick enough to switch it to the other hand and keep it out of his reach.
“Knock it off!” I yelled as he struggled to get at it. I jumped up on my bed, bounced off Frannie’s, and went running around the perimeter of the room.
He cut me off by the dresser and I shrieked as he made another grab at my phone, managing to duck beneath his arms and make a run for the door. But just as I closed my fingers around the handle and pulled, his hand shot out above me and slammed it shut.
“God, you are such a jerk!” I yanked on the handle but it was no use. He had me prisoner.
His front pressed up against my back. My cheek was on the door. Both of us were breathing hard. “You want this,” he said. “Admit it. You wanted me then and you want me now.”
“I want you to let me out of here, you arrogant son of a bitch,” I seethed through clenched teeth. “I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you.”
“So scream.” His voice was low in my ear, and then his mouth was on my neck. “Text your sister. Call for help. Call 911, for fuck’s sake.” One hand snuck around my waist and slid down the front of my dress. “I won’t stop you.”
I knew I should say no, but his tongue was doing things on my throat and his fingers were edging beneath the hem of my shift and wandering up my inner thighs. Then there was his voice, all deep and intense.
“But I don’t think you really want to go. I think you want to see what it’s like to be with me again.” His fingertips rubbed me over my thin lace panties. “I’m much more patient now. And I’ve got all kinds of new tricks.”
“Mmhm.” He turned me around, putting my back against the door. His lips hovered above mine. “I bet I can make you come within five minutes.” His expression was cocky. “Care to bet against me?”
I bit my tongue, refusing to reply.
“So stubborn. Nothing ever changes.” He kissed me, and I felt myself sinking. Then it was Oliver sinking—to his knees in front of me. Pushing up my dress. Pulling down my underwear.
I think I whimpered. I dropped my phone.
He laughed as he tossed one of my legs over his shoulder, and I felt his breath on me. “Don’t worry. I promise I’m going to be very, very gentle.”
And he was gentle—soft kisses up my inner thighs; sweet, lingering strokes with his tongue up my center; slow, dizzying spirals over my clit.
I flattened my palms against the door and struggled not to make the kind of embarrassing noises you heard through hotel room walls.
Then he wasn’t gentle—flicking the tip of his tongue over my clit in a quick, fluttering motion that made my lower body hum; sucking it into his mouth and moaning with delight; clutching my thigh with one hand as he fucked me with two fingers on the other.
I clapped a palm over my mouth. I banged on the door. I felt my legs begin to shudder and go numb with pleasure, the one I stood on about to buckle.
“Oliver,” I panted. “I can’t stand up. I can’t stand up.”
He laughed, but he didn’t let up, and within ten seconds, my entire body was convulsing, wave after wave of pure pleasure rippling out from his tongue to the tips of my toes and the ends of my hair and my tingling breasts that ached to be touched. It was the most intense, most otherworldly, most powerful orgasm I’d ever experienced, and it made me want more.
I wanted Oliver to fuck me. I craved it. And he had to be hard, right? He had to want it just as badly as I did.
Suddenly I heard a beeping noise, like a phone alarm going off.
“Yes!” Oliver fist-pumped and picked up my cell from the floor. “Under five minutes. I win.”
I pulled my leg off his shoulder, the sultry haze around me evaporating. “Huh?”
He looked up at me triumphantly. “I made you come in under five minutes.”
My mouth fell open. There were so many things wrong with what he’d said, I could hardly think. “Wait a minute. Wait a minute.” I put out a hand. “You set a timer?”
He shrugged. “Yeah.”
“On my phone?”
I shook my head. “How did you even—”
“Your passcode is your birthday.” He gave me an admonishing look. “You should really be more careful.”
“But … I didn’t even notice you playing with it.”
“I know. I’m good, right?”
I brought my legs together. Tight. “You are vile and loathsome. And I never took any bet.”
He burst out laughing. “Doesn’t matter. It was more of a challenge I set for myself. Under five minutes.” He wiped his mouth and sat back. “Damn, I’m good.”
I wanted to punch him. For giving me an orgasm. What the fuck was going on?
“This whole thing was a ruse, wasn’t it?” I demanded. “You were never worried you didn’t know what you were doing with women. Or that they were faking it.”
“Fuck no,” he scoffed. “Maybe I didn’t go to Harvard, but I know my stuff.”
I shook my head. “You were just mad you hadn’t made me come.”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
“I cannot believe I actually had warm, fuzzy feelings toward you tonight.”
“Aww.” He put a hand on his heart. “That’s cute.”
He put his hands on the button of his shorts. “I mean … we can. I’m certainly willing and able.”
“Fuck. You.” I yanked the door open, grabbed my phone from the floor, and took off down the hall, without shoes, without underwear, without dignity.
And I swore—I swore—to myself that I would never let Oliver Ford Pemberton get near me again.
It was a promise I couldn’t keep.
What was wrong with me?